BTI comments: ENGINEERING ADVISORS HELP

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:41
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Hello Jay,

Please print and distribute this witticism amongst your friends, but only in
its entirety. After a sleepless night, I got up at Midnight with a resolution to my
problems... After 60 e-mails to one person alone I realized that no matter
what I say, the experts on the BOG site must know better, because an
intelligent person like yourself listens to their engineering expertise
instead of ours on matters like weight concerns, electrical engineering and
such... They must have the experience of outfitting 500 to 1000
Bushtrackers in the field and seeing and living with the results. So, we
need to put them to work for us...

Forget the problems we have had with off frequency and voltage variations
and voltage spikes out on the far reaches of SWR (single wire return) that
all the Outback stations run on, that are not dampened by the huge size of
the main grid of city systems but are subject to spikes from lightening and
equipment starting and stopping on shared dead end transmission lines....
This is a real condition and why we developed the transformer based dinosaur
engineering that is immune.. However, it is possible that the modern R & D
in the Chinese switchmode gear has adapted to account for this, so we will
see with your 2004 experiment...

.. Please resolve these other real experiences and engineering problems in
relation to your latest electrical design:

1) Switchmode is most vulnerable in one direction of mounting... Most
say they can be mounted in any direction, but due to the size of the
electrical components on the I.C. board, in reality there is a weakest
direction to be avoided, and a strongest direction that is preferable. This
accounted for between 30% and 50% of the failures on the corrugation.
Please indicate which these are, as in side mount only left facing forward
or what ever...

2) Switchmode failures had recommendations by the Manufacturers after
numerous failures of some kind of vibration dampening method of mounting.
Please include directions on this...

3) Switchmode chargers have had a nasty habit of getting stuck on full
boost cycle for prolonged periods of time, overheating or overcharging
batteries, because they only read the surface voltage on the plates as other
equipment was running that bled the voltage off of a fully charged battery.
They would get stuck on full boost cycle while the fridge was running at
full capacity in the evenings, being opened and closed spilling the cold
out, and lights and showers were on, the boost cycle that was almost
finished stayed on for 4 to 6 hours too long as the surface voltage was bled
off... This exposes the possibility of overcharged batteries or overheated
batteries, and resulted in other problems. Please insure that your
electrical engineering allows for a maximum time left in boost cycle, so as
not to impact battery life.. As that is the final resolution that we
included in our dinosaur transformer based engineering.

4) Switchmode in your design, is over the limit with maximum amperage
for these size batteries, that requires a temperature probe on the batteries
to regulate the charge as heat degradation of the batteries occurs on any
application of more than 50 amps. That is why we only build the chargers to
50 amps. Please insure that this temperature probe system is in place in
your design and engineering, to all batteries, because it is not always the
lead battery on the positive side that heats up, it is often one of the
center batteries as they are not all perfectly alike..

5) Please insure that the electrical components are screwed into the
integrated circuit board, as the highly competitive Chinese switchmode gear
has been prone in recent years to only solder the components onto the boards
to save costs.. Very good in yachts and aircraft where the ride is soft,
but faulty and prone to nuisance intermittent faults shaking on the
corrugation and microscopic cracks in the soldered joints... Also, the older
style switch mode had even the smaller components pushed through the IC
board and soldered, where newer ones to cut costs of production are only
surface soldered on the IC board...

We trust that you will account for all of these engineering problems in your
new electronic designs and please give us your data on how these new
electrical engineering systems will react with all other electrical
components in the van with relation to potential feedback and
compatibility...

And by the way, we have also moved over 80% of our inverters to the new 1200
watt transformer based inverters, for all the reasons quoted above. And it
is interest to note that the failure rate is nearly zero. The 1800 watt
inverter is unique in that it has a very good reliability factor, and the
luxury of larger capacity and a remote digital readout and control
faceplate, but we isolate it from outside influence and it is unique in that
it is fully electronic but has a very low failure rate as well, thus we
continue to use it...

Kind Regards, from those always trying to do the very best job possible, at
Bushtracker I HAVE SENT THIS EMAIL IN A FAX TO CHRIS MCCLELLAN AT XANTREX WITH THE FOLLOWING NOTE: Chris, set forth below is an email from Steve Gibbs, Owner/Director of Bushtracker. Clearly Steve is quite concerned about my decision to install TrueCharge40 battery chargers, otherwise he would not have taken the to write this analytical email. It is this type of concern coupled with the fact that BTi builds the most over-engineered off-road caravan in Australia (perhaps anywhere) that keeps Boggers recommending BTs to others, and extremely happy with their purchase. The fact that there are friendly disagreements between BTi and some of the Boggers some of the time in no way detracts from the fact that BTs are the best available.
As one of our members constantly writes:
“Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
The issues raised by Steve require answering for me as a potential customer of Xantrex (I have tentatively ordered two 40 amp chargers) and for other members of the Group who might, depending upon the results of this debate between switchmode chargers and transformer chargers become customers of Xantrex.
Most of us are caught between two “experts” and are trying to decide the best route to go for our application.
On the one hand there are many Boggers that are using the transformer chargers installed in the past by BTi quite happily; on the other hand there are those like myself that want to take a more sophisticated approach to battery charging and perhaps obtain a better result (longer battery life due to proper charging/float charging).
I would greatly appreciate your response to the issues raised by Steve. I would appreciate it if you would put your responses in writing and post them on the site (you are a member), send a copy to Steve at BTi, and send copy to my email address (jay@tgintl.com.au) as I will be in New Zealand for the next two weeks.
I have asked BTi to put my battery charger purchase “on hold” pending your responses which will provide all of us with needed information.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Jay D. Gould
Member, BOG


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Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:43

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:43
All, I am very naive in all matters electrical, and have watched the various threads on Boggers with some amazement over the last few months - so, my comment is that we simply installed what BTI recommended way back in late 2000, and have had no problems whatsoever (other than fact that I agree that probably 4 solar panels is the way to go due to power consumption by the fridge). We are considering another van in about 12 months, and would probably again simply accept what BTI propose. Phil
AnswerID: 561111

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:44

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:44
tgintl,
I agree with you entirely unfortunately I am not
qualified but I do have a Certifcate II in communications and understand your
enginerring logic.
Best Regards
Macka
AnswerID: 561112

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:45

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:45
G'day Phil, That is certainly a way to do it .... stress free [smile] and get on with enjoying the BT. Most of this stemmed from quite a few chargers and batteries failing .... enough for me to look for a charger I considered to have a far less failure rate. I can only go on what was happening at the time and replaced my charger so it didnt fail when away in the BT. What was I to do buy a spare BT charger ...not me !! This lead me and others I'm sure to question other areas of the BT with regards to quality components and general quality control with construction. You cant blame anyone for that as I never received a letter from BTi telling of charger or battery failures were being experienced. Then I had trouble with my door latch retaining plates cracking and the barbs letting the door come open while travelling. Although this was not BTi's fault the door was in my BT. I was fobbed off to Camec for warranty. The second time I was fobbed off was the aircon and I repaired the fault myself. After this second time I realised that it is no use ringing BTi for warranty on an installed part. Once again I can only go on what was happening to me and my BT. Next on the list a Galaxy window strut came out ..another supplied product. My handbrake cables are wearing through the eyes and my BT leads a charmed life so they will have to be replaced and then stopped from doing the same. Imagine if that cable released when you least expected it ...apparently it did for one owner. My water tank outlets are now leaking badly on two tanks cant take the risk of only doing two so will have to find a solution to that and re-install the 4 tanks. My wife had the outside shower tap come off in her hand the third time she opened the tap with the result being that the whole water system had to be shut down to stop the huge squirt coming out from the BT. Quite funny really now I remember her running madly around with a tap knob in her hand .... Luckily I was able to shape a piece of timber and use heater hose and zip clips to stem the flow so we could stay the next 4 days. Picked up a new set of taps at BTi on way home no questions asked .... fitted them myself. Has not happened since as replacement set are same as in ensuite. Not all of us have had a dream run and some of these probs should have been addressed by BTi. My BT ran out of warranty last Nov. so will fix these myself. These things have certainly not put me off BT's that's for sure. Most of it stems from supplied equipment. The cable problem is just a bit of bad design I dont know why mine is doing it with such little use compared to most. Copeton might be an opportunity to look at some that arent doing it. In the end they will be fixed one way or another. Regards Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ... Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561113

Reply By: Luvntravln - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:46

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:46
Received an email from Chris McClellan that he is sending Steve's email to the Xantrex engineers for answers. At this point I am taking the wait and see approach. If the engineers can convince me with understandable logic that the TrueCharger40 will standup to 1000K of corrugations, I will give it a shot and be a test case. I understand from a discussion today with Bob Pollock and Paul Swift that the 1800i inverter has its motherboard components siliconed in place. Interesting to find out if the same is true of the charger. Chris is a member of the site and is following these threads with most interest. If the Xantrex engineers cannot say they will stand behind their product when I finally encounter the dreaded corrugations in 2006 (2005 off to Cape York), then I will install the BTI charger as I believe BTI will stand behind them 100%. I am gone for two weeks (will try to find an internet cafe half way along the cycle trip). Cheers to everyone - I am off to seek a BATTS cure. tgintl/jay
AnswerID: 561114

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:47

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:47
Anthony , do you thunk BTI is victimising you as it sounds like it? Have some Chianti this time Macka
AnswerID: 561115

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:48

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:48
Macka, Victimising me ..... DEFINETELY NOT ..... I dont believe anyone at BTi would even dream of it. It could be straight policy that any warranty with supplied products must be taken up with the supplier. That could have been the policy when I purchased mine in Nov 01 ... it might not be policy now. Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
AnswerID: 561116

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:49

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:49
This debate is discussing manufacturing build quality, not competing technologies. There are well-made switch-mode systems and badly made switch-mode systems. There's also good old fashioned transformer technology - and bad ditto. Highly sophisticated electronics has been used successfully and ultra reliably in applications that subject the circuit boards to massive vibrational and G stresses: guided missiles are just one example (it even works inside artillery shells!). Many of the vehicles that people use to pull their 'vans use complex computer technology. Yet it's claimed not to work reliably in a BT? Surely the suspension's not that hard? Collyn Rivers
AnswerID: 561117

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:50

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:50
Thnaks Anthony,
I have a suspicious Mind
Macka
AnswerID: 561118

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:51

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:51
Anthony,<o:p></o:p>

I recently had a problem with the policy of a large retail
store fobbing me off to the manufacturer when I requested a repair or
replacement item which was purchased in that store. I refused to accept this
pathetic attitude towards me and took it up with the Office of Fair Trading. I
made my case that I purchased the goods in good faith and therefore had a
binding contract with the vendor and noone else for warranty as legislated
under state laws. That was supported by the Office of Fair Trading, who advised
the retailer to do the right thing or else !<o:p></o:p>

The retailer then replaced the goods immediately however confirmed
that it will remain their policy to refer warranty cases to the manufacturer. <o:p></o:p>

Perhaps the ‘fobbing off’ virus is becoming
widespread ?<o:p></o:p>

Regards,David<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>



AnswerID: 561119

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:52

Wednesday, Feb 04, 2004 at 22:52
Phil,
If you can afford to get Odessy Pc1700s get
them.
Macka/peter
AnswerID: 561120

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